Cascades Casino opens its doors to the public (GALLERY)

Cascades Casino soft opening on July 16, 2019 in Chatham. (Photo via Municipality of Chatham-Kent)

Chatham’s newest attraction is now open for business and hundreds of people have piled through the doors to get their first look.

Shortly after 4:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, Cascades Casino officially opened it’s doors to the public and it was met with excitement and awe. With over 150 people waiting outside, casino officials opened the doors a few minutes ahead of the 5 p.m. scheduled time. When the doors finally opened, cheers erupted from the crowd as people poured inside.

Chatham resident Pat Benjamin was one of those first inside the facility. She said although she’s not a big gambler, she was impressed with the atmosphere inside the casino and thinks its a great addition to the area. For Benjamin, the restaurants inside the building are the main highlight.

“It’s nice just to go in and wander around and watch the people and have a nice restaurant to go into to eat,” she said. “That’s a plus.”

Located at the corner of Richmond Street and Keil Drive South, the 45,280 square foot facility is home to Match Eatery, which has an outdoor patio and live music on the weekends. There is also a full buffet inside that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The gaming floor features over 300 slots, 10 table games, a bar and has a capacity for 700 people. Construction began on the $36 million project just over a year ago on July 5, 2018.

Rob Mitchell, director of communications and public affairs with Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Limited, said for the last few weeks, he has been hearing from people who were excited about the opening

“My phone has been ringing. There was a rumour we’d open July 1, so I’ve been getting a really, really positive response from everywhere. It’s not just the Chatham area, I’m hearing from folks all over the place that are very anxious for us to open,” he said.

Heather Holland, a Thunder Bay resident, was one of the out-of-towners who came to support the opening. She said she’s impressed with how it all came together.

“It looks good to me,” Holland said. “Nice and clean and lots of fun.”

Although it was mainly adults walking through the door on Tuesday,  Mitchell said what makes Cascades Casino stand out from other casinos, is that the restaurants inside the facility are family-friendly.

“All our amenities, our food and beverage amenities, are accessible to families. You don’t have to be 19 years of age and over to get onto our site and enjoy our food and beverage,” he explained. “Our gaming floor is distinct and separate from our food and beverage.”

Tuesday’s opening was technically a “soft open” for the casino. Mitchell explained that it gives the company a chance to gauge how things are going and if there are any major issues that need to be addressed.

“The soft opening, basically we want to work out all the bugs, test out all the equipment, familiarize ourself, get the sense of customer patterns, get the impact from the customers… get a sense of what’s working and perhaps what we might tweak a little,” he said.

According to Mitchell, Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Limited is aiming for a grand opening on August 8. Before then, there are a few more finishing touches that will be put on the property including finishing up the landscaping. Mitchel promises even more excitement for the grand opening date.

“We hope to have some special guests on hand, we will have some special promotions to accompany that, we’ll certainly have live entertainment. I think that will be a great event, something to look forward too,” said Mitchell.